Flower

Posts Tagged ‘History’

It’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, an off-the-books celebration of all things pirate. The idea was hatched in 1995 when friends John Baur and Mark Summers (aka Ol’ Chumbucket and Cap’n Slappy) began, inexplicably, to insult each other in pirate lingo while playing racquetball. So, in honor and in the spirit of this incredibly important holiday, eLibrary presents …

Six stream-of-consciousness Research Topics vaguely related to International Talk Like a Pirate Day:

Piracy in the Caribbean: This is what we all think of when we think of pirates–eyepatches, peg-legs, fighting with swords. We tend to think of pirates as happy-go-lucky adventurers, but their short careers were often filled with brutality.

Piracy in the Caribbean RT

Piracy in the Caribbean Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

 

Piracy in Somalia: At the other end of the timescale is modern-day piracy in which gangs hijack cargo ships off the coast of Somalia and hold them for ransom. The hijackings fell off in 2013 due to security actions by vessel owners and increased naval patrols. (The Tom Hanks movie Captain Phillips portrays such an incident.)

Piracy in Somalia RT

Piracy in Somalia Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

 

Parrots: OK, let’s lighten things up a bit. What can I say? Beautiful parrots that would make Long John Silver proud.

Parrots RT

Parrots Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

 

Treasure Island: This is the book that provided pretty much all of the stereotypes we know about pirates.

Treasure Island RT

Treasure Island Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

 

Barbary Wars: Back in the day, the Barbary states (current day Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya) demanded American merchant ships pay tribute or be attacked by “Barbary pirates.” Then Thomas Jefferson became president, and he was having none of it. He (and successor James Madison) used military force to end the practice. (For a famous incident in the Barbary Wars, see this post from last year: Stephen Decatur Burns the USS Philadelphia.)

Barbary Wars RT

Barbary Wars Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

 

Linguistics: Well, I said vaguely related, and it is Talk Like a Pirate Day …

Linguistics RT

Linguistics Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

 

While this has been a lighthearted post, we are serious about providing content for your classroom, and the information above gives you an idea of the breadth of information–history, modern issues, science, literature–contained in our collection of more than 11,000 Research Topics. You can see how a trip to eLibrary could bolster classwork, assignments, and discussions on just about any topic with introductory and in-depth material.

And, arrrrren’t you glad I made it through this without a bit of cheesy pirate talk?

Geography Trivia: Chester A. Arthur and the Prime Meridian

Chester A. Arthur

Chester A. Arthur Research Topic via ProQuest’s eLibrary

These days, the average person takes for granted how easy it is to get from one place to another. Most of us don’t even need maps when traveling. We have GPS technology in our cars and GPS Apps on our phones that tell us which direction to go and where to turn and when we will arrive at our destination. Our phones even change the time for us when we enter in to a new time zone. But, this was not always the case.

The prime meridian is a great circle drawn on maps and globes of the Earth that passes through the North and South Poles, separating the globe into two hemispheres: East and West. This prime meridian passes through Greenwich, England. Governments, however, did not always agree that the Greenwich meridian was the prime meridian, making navigation and time standardization very difficult. Sea navigation, as well as the astronomical charting of stars, usually remained a matter of local, national or sometimes even religious preference. Maps could be based on longitude east or west of St. Petersburg, Rome, Jerusalem, Paris, the Canary Islands or Washington D.C. Needless to say, all of these prime meridians led to a massive amount of international confusion. Although latitude (North and South) had always been measured from the Equator, there was no equivalent point from which to measure longitude.

The beginning of the 19th Century saw calls for unification and the adoption of one common meridian. But the problem was not one of geographical location alone; it was also linked to the measurement of time. To standardize one, would require the standardization of the other.

The Prime Meridian

The Prime Meridian Photo via NASA [Public Domain]

By the 1870s, with the increasing use of rail transportation, there was intense pressure both to establish a prime meridian for worldwide navigation purposes and to unify local times for railway timetables. Great Britain had already solved this problem by using the Greenwich Meridian to standardize its time zones. In the United States, the problem with time standardization was more complicated, with one railroad timetable showing over 100 local times varying by more than 3 hours. President Chester A. Arthur decided he had had enough. He called for an International Meridian Conference, which was held in Washington D.C. in October 1884, to determine a prime meridian for international use. Specifically, the Conference was to hammer out the choice of “a meridian to be employed as a common zero of longitude and standard of time reckoning throughout the world.”

Delegates from 25 countries attended the Conference. The Conference established that the meridian passing through the Royal Observatory at Greenwich would be the Earth’s prime meridian, and all longitude would be calculated both east and west from it up to 180 degrees. The Conference also established Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) as a standard for astronomy and the setting of time zones.

Standing on the Greenwich Meridian

One Can Stand in Both the Eastern and Western Hemispheres Astride the Greenwich Meridian [Photo via Wikimedia Commons] (CC BY-SA 2.0)

This semester, there are two good reasons for Geography teachers to tell students about the 1884 International Meridian Conference: 1. It is a very interesting topic, and. 2. How often do Geography teachers get to mention Chester A. Arthur in class? Teachers can have their students use eLibrary to find out more about the Prime Meridian and other Geography-related topics.

If you do not have a subscription to ProQuest products, you can get a free trial here.

Trivia Time:

  • In addition to sporting some very flashy sideburns, by all accounts, Chester A. Arthur’s presidency was a popular and successful one. In fact, after Arthur’s death in 1885, Mark Twain wrote of him: “It would be hard indeed to better President Arthur’s Administration.” The New York World also wrote of Arthur’s time in office: “No duty was neglected in his administration, and no adventurous project alarmed the nation.”
  • The prime meridian also sets Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). UTC never changes for daylight savings time. Just as the prime meridian is the standard for longitude, UTC is the standard for time. All countries and regions measure their time zones according to UTC.
  • The vote to select Greenwich at the 1884 Conference passed 22 to 1, with San Domingo (Dominican Republic) voting against and both France and Brazil abstaining.

Let’s Debate…Federal Funding of the Arts

Federal funding of the arts–which encompasses visual art, performing arts, cultural events and programming, public television, public radio, and more–has been a politically debated issue for decades. Want to learn more about both sides? Check out the infographic below. Then explore more by visiting SIRS Researcher‘s new Leading Issue Public Funding of the Arts.

 

SIRS Issues Researcher is a pro/con database that helps students understand today’s controversial political issues with editorially selected analysis and opinions that cover the entire spectrum of viewpoints.

Don’t have SIRS Issues Researcher? Free trials are available.

“Isaac’s Storm”: The 1900 Galveston Hurricane

Author Erik Larson stormed onto the bestsellers list in 1999 with “Isaac’s Storm,” which chronicled the 1900 Galveston Hurricane as well as the work of meteorologist Isaac Cline. The book is both a riveting read and an interesting look at the nascent National Weather Service (then known as the United States Weather Bureau), established during the Grant administration in 1890. From a Washington Post review:

[Larson’s] gripping new book, “Isaac’s Storm,” which tells the story of the Galveston hurricane in excruciating, Grand Guignol detail, threatens to become the “Jaws” of hurricane yarns. Except that it’s all true.

The book details Cline’s work leading up to the September 8, 1900 hurricane and his experiences in dealing with the aftermath. His wife was among the 6,000 to 12,000 killed by flooding and the massive amount of debris pushed around by the storm. Cline’s own house, which had been used as refuge for a number of residents, was smashed by a railroad trestle that had been knocked loose. After seeing the unexpected destruction and loss of life caused by the storm, Cline dedicated himself to studying tropical cyclones and flooding patterns and contributed significantly to the science of meteorology.

Galveston Hurricane (1900) Research Topic

Galveston Hurricane (1900) Research Topic via ProQuest eLibrary

“Isaac’s Storm” would be a good book for cross-curricular instruction in Literature, Science, general Social Studies and Texas state history, and eLibrary can be helpful in giving students background in areas related to the book. Among the Research Topics that can be utilized are:

Galveston Hurricane (1900)

Erik Larson

Hurricanes

Meteorology

To find Research Topics pages covering other individual storms, start typing “hurricane” in the search box and you will get at least a partial drop-down list, or you can keep typing if you have a specific storm you want to find. Often, even if you don’t get a drop-down hit, a search will return a relevant RT. For example, a search of “katrina” may return results and an RT on Hurricane Katrina. So, mix up your searches.

In addition to the great stuff that is on the Research Topics, there is plenty more in eLibrary. Try searches like “galveston hurricane,” “galveston 1900,” “hurricane 1900” or “erik larson” to get documents, photos and more. In particular, we have a good number of web links; use the source-type checkboxes to limit to websites. Here are a few of note:

The Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900 (NOAA)

The 1900 Galveston Hurricane & the Activities of U.S. Lighthouse Service Personnel (Coast Guard)

Galveston 1900: Storm of the Century: Teacher Resources (University of North Texas)

Celebrate Flag Day!

US Flag

Photo credit: Serfs UP ! Roger Sayles via Foter.com / CC BY-ND

 

Teach your students the history of Flag Day and why we honor Old Glory on June 14.

 

“This flag, which we honor and under which we serve, is the emblem of our unity, our power, our thought and purpose as a nation.”–Woodrow Wilson, U.S. President, 1856-1924

 

  • The Flag Resolution of June 14, 1777, stated that the flag of the United States should “be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.”

 

  • The idea of a holiday celebrating Old Glory was first proposed in a newspaper editorial in June 1861 by Charles Dudley Warner, an editor of the Hartford Evening Press, two months after the start of the Civil War.

 

  • Flag Day was first observed on June 14, 1877, one hundred years after the flag was officially adopted.

 

  • Wisconsin school teacher Bernard Cigrand made a public proposal for establishing a holiday to celebrate the American flag.

 

  • Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation establishing June 14 as Flag Day in 1916.

 

  • President Harry Truman signed legislation proclaiming June 14 as Flag Day in 1949.

 

Did you know? There have been 27 different versions of the U.S. flag. Our current flag, the 50-star flag, is the longest-used version of the U.S. flag, having been adopted on July 4, 1960, following the addition of Hawaii as our 50th state.

 

Have your students learn more about Flag Day in SIRS Discoverer and SIRS Issues Researcher.

Subscribe via email to Share This and never miss a post.

The Stonewall Riots and the Birth of Gay Liberation

Stonewall Inn, Greenwich Village, New York City, 2011 [Credit: InSapphoWeTrust from Los Angeles, California, USA, Creative Commons Attribution – Share Alike Generic 2.0 license] [via Wikimedia Commons]

Peace, love, and condemnation

We generally consider the 1960s in the United States as an era of peace and love. But the homosexual communities during this decade were commonly condemned by mainstream society.

Homosexuality was still classified as a “mental disorder” by the American Psychiatric Association. Police raids were conducted in establishments known to be “gay-friendly.” Homosexual acts were illegal, and many people were arrested for engaging in them. Some were fined; others were sentenced to long prison terms–even lifetime sentences. There were not many places where a gay man or woman could be open about their sexuality. Countless lesbians and gays lived “in the closet,” an existence in which they could not express their true selves.

The year was 1969

Stonewall Inn, Greenwich Village, 2011 [Credit: InSapphoWeTrust from Los Angeles, California, USA, Creative Commons Attribution - Share Alike Generic 2.0 license], [via Wikimedia Commons]

Stonewall Inn, site of the 1969 Stonewall riots, New York City [Credit: InSapphoWeTrust from Los Angeles, California, USA, CC BY-SA 3.0] [via Wikimedia Commons]

During the 1960s, New York City was home to the largest gay population in the country. The city was also considered to be one of the most aggressive against this alternative culture.

As the night of June 27 turned to June 28, in the year 1969, the New York City police conducted what they thought would be a routine raid at the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village. Previous raids always resulted in arrests and not much opposition from the bar’s patrons.

Not on this night.

On this 1969 summer night, the gay liberation movement was born.

Out of the melee, pride emerges

In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, gay patrons, regularly harassed by the New York City police, took a stand. Word of the demonstration spread and many joined the riot at the Stonewall Inn. Protests broke out throughout the city. They continued for days, despite police attempts to control the crowds. Shouts of “gay power” and singing of “We Shall Overcome” rang through the streets.

The Stonewall riots inspired local and national dialogue about gay civil rights. Very soon after the riots, a gay advocacy group in NYC was formed and a newspaper was launched. In commemoration of the first anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the first gay pride parades were held in Greenwich Village, Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Two years after the riots, nearly every major U.S. city had established a gay-rights organization. And in 1973, the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of mental illnesses.

Nearly five decades later…

Forty-eight years after the Stonewall riots, the gay liberation movement has evolved to encompass the civil rights for lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender people. Incredible strides have been made in the LGBT movement:

In 2000, Vermont became the first U.S. state to legalize civil unions between same-sex couples; four years later, Massachusetts was the first to legalize gay marriage. A June 2015 Supreme Court decision legalized same-sex marriage in all states, a huge victory for the LGBT movement.

What constituted a hate crime in the United States was expanded in 2009 to include crimes motivated by the victim’s gender, sexual orientation or identity or disability. 

In 2011, the Obama administration addressed the United Nations and announced that LGBT rights are “one of the remaining human rights challenges of our time” and that the country would support international efforts promoting LGBT rights.

Transgender rights became a mainstream issue after the turn of the century and quickly picked up momentum. By 2013, two major federal rulings advanced equal opportunity employment for transgender people. The year 2013 also heralded further progress in the struggle for transgender rights: California enacted the first U.S. law protecting transgender students, and the American Psychiatric Association eliminated its diagnosis “gender identity disorder.”

June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month, otherwise known as LGBT Pride Month. It was established in honor of the 1969 Stonewall Riots. It is a time of celebration, commemoration, and remembrance: a celebration of living freely, openly, and honestly; a commemoration of all that the LGBT community has contributed and what the LGBT rights movement has accomplished; and a remembrance of members of the LGBT community who lost their lives to hate crimes or HIV/AIDS.

Join SKS and its June Spotlight of the Month in honoring LGBT Pride Month. Learn about the history of the gay rights movement and follow its path as it is forged in the United States and many countries around the world.

“The Stonewall riot may have been the start of a civil rights movement, but it was not the beginning of our history.” ― Tom Cardamone, author, and activist

May 11, 330 AD – The Naming of Constantinople…And Why You Should Care!

Byzantine Empire Research Topic

Byzantine Empire Research Topic via ProQuest’s eLibrary

Byzantium. Constantinople. Istanbul.  Three names for one city – one of the most important cities in the history of civilization.

The year 324 marked a turning point for western civilization, for it was then that Emperor Constantine the Great proclaimed Byzantium the new capital of the Roman Empire. On May 11, 330, he officially changed the city’s name to Constantinople to reflect the importance of the city to the world.

It is believed that Byzantium was founded by the Greeks around the year 657 B.C. The meaning of the name Byzantium is unknown, but it likely comes from an ancient Greek legend of a King Byzas.

Constantine the Great Research Topic

Constantine the Great Research Topic via ProQuest’s eLibrary

Constantine chose his new capital wisely. The city is located on the European side of the Strait of Bosporus. The Bosporus (in northwestern Turkey) is significant because it is the passage linking the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, forming part of the continental boundary between Europe and Asia. Due to its natural and man-made defenses, the “City of Constantine” was able to withstand the barbarian invasions that devastated Rome and the Western Empire in 476.

Constantine referred to his newly-named city as “Nova Roma,” or, the New Rome. After the fall of Rome, the Eastern Empire, referred to as the Byzantine Empire, lasted for more than a thousand years. From the mid-5th century to the early 13th century, Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest city in Europe. The city spawned a rich tradition of art, literature and architecture, as well as serving as a buffer between Europe and threats of invasion from Asia.

Constantinople was especially important for preserving in its libraries manuscripts of Greek and Latin authors during a period when violence and chaos resulted in the mass-destruction of books and art in western Europe and north Africa. When the city finally did fall, thousands of these ancient manuscripts were taken by refugees to Italy, where they played a key part in stimulating the transition to the Renaissance and then to the modern world. In addition, moving the capital of the Empire to the East gave prestige to the Bishop of Constantinople (Ecumenical Patriarch) and made the city a dual center of Christianity, alongside Rome. This eventually led to the Great Schism that divided Western Catholicism from Eastern Orthodoxy in 1054.

Ottoman Empire Research Topic

Ottoman Empire Research Topic via ProQuest’s eLibrary

Turkey Research Topic

Turkey Research Topic via ProQuest’s eLibrary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The month of May is important in the history of Constantinople for another reason: on May 29, 1453, after Sultan Mehmed’s Ottoman army stormed the city, Emperor Constantine XI was killed in battle, ensuring that the fall of the Byzantine Empire was complete. The city was then under Ottoman control and was the capital of the Ottoman Empire until its demise in 1922.

It is not an overstatement to say that the military, political, religious and artistic influence of the city on the Western world, over the many centuries of its existence, is incalculable.

Teachers: You can help your students learn more about this culturally significant city by pointing them to the great History and Geography resources in eLibrary.

Trivia Time!

  • From the date of its construction in 537 AD until 1453, Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom) served as an Eastern Orthodox cathedral and seat of the Patriarch of Constantinople. It was the world’s largest cathedral for nearly a thousand years. The building was later converted into an Ottoman mosque from 1453 until 1931. It was then secularized and opened as a museum in 1935.
  • Constantinople was renamed Istanbul in 1930.
  • The name Instanbul (which means “in the city”) likely comes from the word Stamboul which refers to the older, ancient Byzantium part of the city.
  • It is said that on the day when the city fell to Mehmed, a crescent moon hung in the sky. Today, many Islamic nations around the world commemorate the military victory of 1453 with crescent moons on their flags.
  • France and Britain promised Constantinople to the Russians if the Entente won World War I. (Didn’t happen due to the fall of the Russian Empire in 1917).
  • The song “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” was released in 1953 by The Four Lads, and later recorded in 1990 by They Might Be Giants.
  • The Byzantine Empire was the only organized state west of China to survive without interruption from ancient times until the beginning of the modern age.

Not yet a subscriber to ProQuest products? Request a Free Trial here!

SIRS Discoverer Spotlight of the Month: National Native American Heritage Month

Each November, the United States celebrates National American Indian Heritage Month by honoring Native Americans and their diverse cultures, contributions and achievements. Many achievements and influences can be found in art, music, literature, agriculture, spirituality, and medicine. National American Indian Heritage Month has been a significant national celebration since 1990. This yearly commemoration honors Native Americans’ accomplishments and their role in the development of American culture and society, while recognizing the evolution of the Native American experience and emphasizing the importance of preserving Native traditions and heritage. Visit the November SIRS Discoverer Spotlight and join us in commemorating the cultures and recognizing the hardships of Native Americans. Young researchers can read about Crazy Horse as a child; discover the history of the Sioux tribe; explore the wonders of totem poles, and much more.

Edward S. Curtis [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Other topics to research can include:

National History Day 2017 in eLibrary

The 2017 National History Day theme, Taking a Stand in History, has been established, and eLibrary is ready to help students get a start on their research. We have created a jump page that features links to Research Topics related to many of the topics suggested on the National History Day website.

If you are not familiar with National History Day, it is a national program that provides a broad theme and challenges students to take a deep look at history and develop a documentary, exhibit, paper, performance or website. From NHD’s site:

…The intentional selection of the theme for NHD is to provide an opportunity for students to push past the antiquated view of history as mere facts and dates and drill down into historical content to develop perspective and understanding.

The NHD theme provides a focused way to increase students’ historical understanding by developing a lens to read history, an organizational structure that helps students place information in the correct context and finally, the ability to see connections over time.

Following local and state events showcasing the projects, the program culminates in a national contest featuring the top entries from around the world. This school year’s national contest will be held June 11-15, 2017.

Check out our ProQuest Research Topic Guide: National History Day.

ProQuest Research Topic Guide: National History Day

ProQuest Research Topic Guide: National History Day via eLibrary

 

SIRS Discoverer: Celebrate the Constitution

We celebrate the U.S. Constitution each year during the week of September 17, in honor of its signing on September 17, 1787. The Constitution’s significance on U.S. government and laws is momentous and central to our rights and responsibilities as citizens.

Do today’s young students understand the importance of the U.S. Constitution? Do they know where and when it was written? Can they name a few of its creators and signers? Can they name and define any of the constitutional amendments? Would they understand how the Constitution and its amendments impact our daily lives?

In honor of Constitution Week, SIRS Discoverer’s September Spotlight of the Month highlights the product’s constitutional content and provides students an easy way to research the Constitution and its amendments. Perhaps you and your students could celebrate Constitution Week with a fun research assignment. There are several amendments out of the 27 that seem to be cited most often. How about asking your students to choose one and learn more about it?

By Constitutional Convention [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Constitutional Convention [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The 1st amendment establishes our right to freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and freedom of religion. What does this mean for us? We can worship as we choose, we can express new and different ideas with no repercussions, and news outlets can report on what is happening in our country and our world. Question: Before the Revolutionary War, did colonial America have freedom of the press?

The 2nd amendment, which protects the right to own guns and use them for self-defense, may be the most debated of all of the constitutional amendments. Question: Where did the concept of “the right to bear arms” originate?

Following the Civil War, the 14th amendment was ratified. It legally protects the citizenship rights all Americans, regardless of race, and details those who are entitled to U.S. citizenship. Question: What “codes” did some Southern states create in response to the 14th amendment?

The 15th amendment guarantees people of all races the right to vote. It was the third and last of the Reconstruction Amendments, which were adopted after the Civil War. Question: What state first ratified the 15th amendment?

The 19th amendment gives women the right to vote. Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, leaders of the women’s suffrage movement, helped to draft the amendment. Question: What two women pioneered the women’s suffrage movement by organizing a meeting in Seneca Falls?

Visit SIRS Discoverer during the month of September. Your students will definitely learn some facts about the Constitution. Who knows, you may learn something, too!